The angry user is screaming to the laptop. Aggressive man working with notebook at office. System error on computer.

If your computer died today, would you lose all your important documents, pictures, music and other things that are important to you? Do you have several computers in your house and are constantly using thumb drives or emails to share files back and forth? Do you even know where your backup is?

There is an easier way to securely ensure your important data is backed up over the internet, and this same technology can be used to synchronize and share your files between multiple computers. This will be the first in a series of articles on making sure your data is safe and secure.

There are several tools available to you to backup your data online as well as backup software and hardware to backup your full computer. Many of these are great tools although some have costs while others are free. This article is going to focus on the backing up and synchronization of important documents, and later articles will address full backups of your computer.

The software that I have used for the last few years that I find the simplest, least expensive yet most powerful tool is called DropBox. Dropbox gives you 2Gb of online backup storage space for free and has software available for Windows, Mac, Linux as well as all major smart phones.

Once you have installed Dropbox on your computer, it creates a folder in your home directory that becomes the home directory of your online storage drive. Anything you put in this folder gets automatically synchronized to your private secure storage area on the Internet. If you have a laptop, and are not on the Internet, any changes you make to your documents will automatically be saved back onto the *cloud* the moment that you reconnect to the Internet.

If your computer’s hard drive, or data storage were to ever crash or become unusable, you would have peace of mind knowing that all you would have to do to get back your data is install Dropbox on your new or fixed computer, and within hours all of your documents that you stored in the Dropbox folders would be brought right back to where you left them.

If you have multiple computers, the other really neat way of using Dropbox is to install Dropbox on each of them, and set them up with the same account. After it is installed, it will automatically download your files from the *cloud* to the computer. If you make a change on one computer, the files are then changed on any other computers that you have installed Dropbox on, as well as being accessible through their web- based interface accessible from any browser in the world.

Dropbox is not the only answer for securing your data and ensuring your data is safe and backed up, but it is a good start to having your most important and common files readily available regardless of what happens, or where you might be.

We’ll talk in the next article of how you can backup and share your family’s digital picture collection.

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